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The Equality of the Gaze: The Animal Stares Back in Chris Marker's Films

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-249
Number of pages14
Issue number2-3
Early online dateOct 2016
Accepted/In press17 Jun 2016
E-pub ahead of printOct 2016


King's Authors


This article considers a selection of Chris Marker's films in the context of noted differences between Emmanuel Levinas's and Jacques Derrida's positions on the animal as Other, the potential for the animal face. Derrida (2008) himself argues that Levinas ‘did not make the animal anything like a focus of interrogation within his work’ (p. 105). Statements such as this about Levinas's ethics seem to make his position clear. In contrast, Derrida's thinking on the matter of the animal, and in particular human responsibility for them as Other, stands as a thorough and influential body of ethical thought, probing the limited and limiting boundary between human and animal. His autobiographical texts, according to Lynn Turner (2015, p. 135), welcome animal others. Marker's images, I will argue, address an equity between species through what he refers to as the égalité du regard, an equality in the gaze (of the camera). These images speak to a space beyond themselves and it is within this territory, I will argue, that the animal does have a face, that can occur via that of the human.

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